Nothing is like the feeling you get when you find a piece of history that speaks to you: in this case, we’re talking about antiques. The feeling that you have to have it- and you better grab it right away because someone else will; you snooze you lose!!! I’ve come up with 5 important tips to go by while scouting for these pieces to help avoid disappointment (of a fake!) and encourage a smart purchase.
1. Spend Smart
I’m sure you really don’t want to end up spending a small fortune on something that isn’t authentic. Make an educated buy by doing your homework first on how to determine if a piece is real or not. Just because what’s on the price tag is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the real deal. Many online resources are available which give tips on determining factors, and also on the fair price you should expect to pay.
TIP: You know you have found a quality piece if it is signed by the designer, but do your research first!
If it ‘looks old’ it doesn’t mean that it’s an antique! It may actually be in very poor condition and need a lot of work. Before buying, fully inspect the item by doing things such as opening drawers or doors, looking at the bottom, checking that its legs or arms are steady, picking it up to see if anything falls off, and running your hand against the surface. If an antique is chipped, torn or cracked in any way, it may deface its value – and drastically.
TIP: Ask the seller how and if it can be re-conditioned so you know what you’re in for if you plan on purchasing it.
3. True Love
Buying what you love is just as important as buying something that is genuine. Don’t just buy a piece because it’s authentic and expensive- if it doesn’t appeal to you, it will just sit on the shelf and collect dust.
TIP: If it catches your eye but you’re not sure about it, keep going. If you can’t stop thinking about it, you know it was meant to be! Just hope someone else doesn’t snatch it before you get back!
4. Look outside the “Antique Shop”
Antiques and unique collectables are everywhere and anywhere, and you find the best stuff in the most unexpected places. I found an amazing elaborate gilt side table for my place curb side! Check out flea markets and garage sales. Even local malls sometimes hold antique bazaars.
TIP: Browse often and compare; the more you search the more you’ll know.
5. The United Kingdom
The UK has a prominent history in trade and invention, and many of the pieces from these times remain in the region, making this destination very well-known for its authentic antiques.
TIP: If you’re serious about antique shopping, taking a trip there would be something I’d suggest.
TOOLS TO BRING WITH YOU WHEN YOU HUNT:
-Magnifying Glass (to check for fine print such as dates and signatures)
-Miller’s Antiques Handbook & Price Guide, available at Chapters
-A set amount of money – set a budget for yourself and don’t go over that limit!
Written By: Yanic Simard, Toronto Interior Design Group|
Yanic Simard of the Toronto Interior Design Group is regularly featured in many Canadian and international publications and he also contributes as a design guest expert to the Canadian acclaimed City TV show City Line.